A worthwhile date movie, according to Halpern, meets three criteria: it appeals to women and men, it contains a plausible romance, and it leaves the audience with a romantic feeling. Reel Romance provides detailed information on 100 such films, focusing on movies from the last 25 years but including some classics from Hollywood's golden era (could any book on romantic films leave out Casablanca?) Organizing the movies according to ten themes, Halpern adds some surprises to the mix: along with expected comedies and love stories, the list includes fantasy films (Ladyhawke, Dreamscape), detective movies (Fletch), animated pictures (Shrek), and even a little kung-fu (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Each film description includes a rating on the "makeout meter," suggestions for further viewing, and the "do try this at home" tips for couples eager to add a little movie magic to their own romances. Halpern also advises viewers on which films go best with different periods in the relationship, ranging from first date to comfortably married.
With Americans spending more of their movie-watching time at home, and couples forever wandering through the video stores looking for something that they'll both enjoy, Reel Romance arrives at the perfect time.
Leslie Halpern writes for the Hollywood Reporter and contributes a film column to the Orlando Sentinel. Her articles have appeared in Daily Variety, True Romance, and the Florida Sun-Sentinel, and many other periodicals. She lives in Orlando, Florida.